Thursday, November 06, 2014

Domaine Bony, La Maison Romane and Domaine Audiffred, Tues 28th Oct

On Tuesday, after breakfast at the gîte, we ventured up to the Cote de Nuits, conveyed by Alain le taxi in effortless style. First stop, Domaine Bony in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Here we were greeted by a small child, a long-haired tabby cat and a large Labrador. Fabienne arrived shortly afterwards and was her usual energetic self. The tasting was largely conducted in English which was very nice for me.

I hadn't visited the domaine before but I have sampled its wines extensively and enjoyed the dinner back in February at Chabrot, so I was quite familiar with the range from Passetoutgrains (frequently the house red at AduV Towers) all the way up to the jewel in the crown, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Les Pruliers. For me as usual the Nuits-Saint-Georges Damodes was a particular hit, with its delicious rich fruit. An exciting new addition this year was a white wine, a Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru Les Terres Blanches. If my notes are correct, this is 50% pinot blanc and 50% chardonnay. It had an aromatic nose of stone fruits, and was soft and appealing.

Afterwards, we stood around chatting waiting for Alain to collect us, only to find he'd parked behind a big van where we couldn't see him and had been there all along! He took us to Vosne-Romanée where there was time for a wander round before visiting La Maison Romane, home of cult wine-maker Oronce de Beler. Oronce turned up looking dashing in his wellies but there was no sign of Prosper the horse or the famous trio of Corsican pigs!

Oronce is a wine-maker who pays enormous attention to detail and makes some stunning wines which are in great demand around the world. For me, the Eaux Vives blanc made from chardonnay grapes grown in the Macon area was probably the best Macon I've ever had, while on the red side the Fixin had a delicious blackberry nose and was "un jolie vin de garde" while the Vosne-Romanée les Reas had that lovely rich Vosne nose but was very refined - it would be fascinating to try it again in a few years time. I came away feeling it was a real privilege to have had the opportunity to visit.

Afterwards, it was time for lunch at La Toute Petite Auberge down by the main road. This is another well-managed, calm restaurant and the lunch menu is a steal at 22.50 euros with a glass of wine and coffee thrown in. Tissues duly restored, we walked along the main road to Domaine Audiffred.

The welcoming committee
Here we were greeted by a parade of garden gnomes and also Henri, waving cheerily as we approached. It wasn't long before we were descending the stairs into the cellar.

Stairway to heaven
I visited this domaine for the first time last year and it was one of the highlights of the trip. This year once again the wines were elegant and stylish. We tasted 16 altogether, and for me (as usual) it was the Beaunes and the Vosnes which showed particularly well. The red Beaune had delicate, pretty fruit while the white had a very attractive nose and seemed soft and delicious.

Want. It. All. 
As for the Vosnes, Henri makes four ranging from village level up to 1er cru Reignots, and the ascending scale was very clear. The Reignots was absolutely magnificent, with great concentration and complexity, and will certainly be hard to resist when the Burgundy Portfolio's en primeur offer comes out in January. But I'll be happy to show my support further down the scale too and must make sure I keep my Champs Perdrix ladder going - three years and counting!

Vous etes ici
Afterwards, we waited in the little shelter in the middle of Vosne which has a new map showing all the vineyards. We watched as the gates to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti opened and closed several times, and I began plotting an elaborate Indiana Jones-style raid on their cellar but then Alain arrived to pick us up so that didn't come to pass. Next year, perhaps...

In the evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Nanson from the Burgundy Report, who ACC had heard was in Beaune at the same time as us. We met up in a new wine bar, Le Bout du Monde, which is on the road towards Place Madeleine. Here ACC and I were greeted by Fabienne Escoffier, which came as something of a surprise to me as last time I met her she was the chef at the famous Ma Cuisine restaurant. It seems that she's moved on and set up her own wine bar. I must say she's done a wonderful job - the atmosphere, decor and wines were all fantastic. I really must remember to pack a checked shirt next year though, to fit in properly.

We found Bill and caught up on all the latest goss before going for dinner at Le Goret aka Pork Place. We visited this place for the first time last year and ended up having massive great pork chops which took about a week to digest. This time the menu seemed to have expanded and Bill and I went for the boeuf bourguignon which confusingly also had pork in it, while ACC somehow ended up with what appeared to be a pork bone instead of the wished-for chop. Still, it was a cheery evening and livened up by a brief impromptu tour of some hidden Beaunois architecture! We resisted the temptation to visit Le Pickwick afterwards, as we had an early start the next day.

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